Luton railway station

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Luton National Rail
Luton railway station - - 1076957.jpg
Station platforms with a Thameslink train waiting
Place Luton
Local authority Borough of Luton
Grid reference TL092216
Station code LUT
Managed by Thameslink
Number of platforms 5
DfT category B
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2008/09 Decrease 3.437 million
2009/10 Decrease 3.187 million
2010/11 Increase 3.261 million
2011/12 Increase 3.440 million
2012/13 Increase 3.444 million
2013/14 Decrease 3.443 million
2014/15 Increase 3.548 million
National RailUK railway stations


* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Luton from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal
Railways around Luton
Midland Main Line
Luton North Parkway (proposed)
Branch to Dunstable
Luton Bute Street
Luton Airport Parkway
Luton Hoo
Chiltern Green
To Welwyn
Midland Main Line

Luton railway station is located in Luton, Bedfordshire, England. The station is near to the town centre, about three minutes' walk from the Arndale Shopping Centre. It is situated on the Midland Main Line and is operated by Thameslink.


It was built by the Midland Railway in 1868 on its extension to St. Pancras. For some years it was known as Luton Midland Road to distinguish it from the earlier Luton Bute Street, built in 1858 on the GNR line from Hertford North to Leighton Buzzard.

To build the line a public area known as the "Great Moor" had to be built through. The remainder of the land was bought for development by John Crawley, who provided a replacement in what is known as the "People's Park." This proved a worthwhile investment because, as the town's staple trade in straw hats diminished as they went out of fashion, it was replaced by engineering works. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the population had nearly trebled and the station had become an important stop for main line expresses. The station, consisting of only 3 platforms was rebuilt in 1937 and saw an additional fourth platform added in 1960; upon electrification in the early 1980s a fifth platform was added for the suburban services to and from St. Pancras.[1]

London, Midland and Scottish Railway[edit]

Until the line through Buxton was closed in the Beeching era, the 'main lines' were those from London to Manchester, carrying named expresses such as The Palatine. Express trains to Leeds and Scotland such as the Thames-Clyde Express tended to use the Erewash Valley Line then onto the Settle and Carlisle Line. Expresses to Edinburgh, such as The Waverley travelled through Corby and Nottingham.


Upon the opening of Eurostar at St. Pancras International, through-fares to continental Europe were made available from Luton and 67 other UK towns and cities to Paris, Brussels and other destinations in France and Belgium.[2]

The station is set for significant investment from both Network Rail and First Group to improve facilities for customers as well as creating longer platforms as part of the Thameslink Programme. In 2009 the station was identified as one of the ten worst category B interchange stations for mystery shopper assessment of fabric and environment, and is set to receive a share of £50 million funding for improvements.[3] During 2010 and 2011 a number of improvements took place at the station, these included extensions to all five platforms (including removing the barrow crossing) and a new footbridge.[4][5] The platform extensions form part of the Thameslink Programme and allow 12 car operation at the station. During these works two new rail overbridges were installed over Old Bedford Road allowing the track to be slewed for the extended platforms.[6]


Luton station is served by Thameslink and East Midlands Trains trains. From Luton, trains go north to Bedford, Derby, Melton Mowbray, Corby, Leicester, Nottingham, and Sheffield. Southbound trains go to London, Gatwick Airport, Brighton, Wimbledon and Sutton.

The typical off peak service from this station is as follows:

  • During the peaks Thameslink run services to Kent via central London jointly operated with Southeastern.
  • East Midlands Trains InterCity services to and from Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield and Derby run through at high speed, but do stop here sometimes.
  • 1 bus per hour to Milton Keynes Central operated by Stagecoach in Bedford (99) (formerly Virgin Trains).[7] This starts at Luton Airport and only calls at a limited number of express bus stops on route.[8]
  • 1 bus per hour to Luton Airport forming the return portion of the above

Thameslink trains serve several stations in Central London, including Farringdon and Blackfriars.

There was previously a shuttle bus service from the station to nearby London Luton Airport. However, this ceased following the construction of Luton Airport Parkway station, though there is the Stagecoach 99 hourly coach service. In September 2013 Arriva launched a new shuttle bus service A with the creation of the Luton and Dunstable Busway which runs from Luton Train Station to London Luton Airport 24 hours a day, also serving Dunstable and Houghton Regis via the new busway


Luton station has the following facilities:

  • 2 waiting rooms
  • Newsagent
  • Cafe
  • Telephones
  • ATM
  • Ticket barriers
  • FastTicket machine
  • Toilets
  • Car Park with 669 spaces
  • The station participates in the Plusbus scheme where train and bus tickets can be bought together for a cheaper price. It is in the same area as Luton Parkway and Leagrave stations.

Service patterns[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
East Midlands Trains

1955 accident[edit]

Luton rail crash
Date 22 December 1955
Time 19:56
Location Luton railway station
Country England
Rail line Midland Main Line
Cause Signal passed at danger
Trains 2
Deaths 1
Injuries 23
List of UK rail accidents by year

On 22 December 1955, two passenger trains collided at Luton station. One passenger was killed, and 23 injured. The first train, a local service from St Pancras to Leicester, had been given the "right-away" from Luton and started to leave the station, but came to a halt when some late passengers attempted to board. As the train was clear of the Home signal, the signalman accepted the second train, an express from St Pancras to Derby. The signals were left at "Danger", so the Derby train should have stopped at the Home signal until the Leicester train had left the station. However, the driver of the Derby train failed to observe the Distant signal, and only made an emergency brake application when he saw the Home signal at danger, from a distance of approximately 400 yards (370 m). He was unable to stop the train in time, and it collided with the stationary Leicester train. The rear two coaches of the Leicester train telescoped into each other, causing the majority of casualties. The official enquiry held the driver of the Derby train responsible for the collision, but also noted that the lights from the nearby Vauxhall factory obscured the view of the Distant signal. The lighting was reorganised following the accident.[9]

1976 accident[edit]

Luton rail crash
Date 25 June 1976
Location Luton railway station
Country England
Rail line Midland Main Line
Cause Signal passed at danger
Trains 3
List of UK rail accidents by year

A passenger train being operated by a diesel multiple unit overran signals and collided with another diesel multiple unit at Luton South Signal Box. An express passenger train then collided with the wreckage, striking it with a glancing blow.[10]

7 July 2005 London bombings[edit]

On the day of the bombings, the four suicide bombers were seen on CCTV entering the station.


  1. ^ Radford, B., (1983) Midland Line Memories: a Pictorial History of the Midland Railway Main Line Between London (St Pancras) & Derby London: Bloomsbury Books
  2. ^ "Through-fares from 68 UK towns and cities to continental Europe now available on". Archived from the original on 30 December 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2007. 
  3. ^ "£50m revamp for 'worst stations'". BBC News. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "Platform Extensions". BCM Construction. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Network Change Notice – Luton Station" (PDF). Network Rail. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "Gently does it! Bridge moved in over Easter". First Capital Connect. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Access for all as Virgin Trains and Stagecoach upgrades Milton Keynes-Luton Airport coaches". Virgin Trains. 18 November 2006. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "VT99 Timetable" (PDF). Virgin Trains / Stagecoach. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Ministry of Transport; Brig C A Langley (11 May 1956). Report on the Collision at Luton Station. HMSO. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  10. ^ Hoole, Ken (1983). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 4. Truro: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-07-9. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°52′56″N 0°24′52″W / 51.88227°N 0.41432°W / 51.88227; -0.41432